[man-uh-riz-uh m]
See more synonyms for mannerism on
  1. a habitual or characteristic manner, mode, or way of doing something; distinctive quality or style, as in behavior or speech: He has an annoying mannerism of tapping his fingers while he talks. They copied his literary mannerisms but always lacked his ebullience.
  2. marked or excessive adherence to an unusual or a particular manner, especially if affected: Natural courtesy is a world apart from snobbish mannerism.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) a style in the fine arts developed principally in Europe during the 16th century, chiefly characterized by a complex perspectival system, elongation of forms, strained gestures or poses of figures, and intense, often strident color.

Origin of mannerism

First recorded in 1795–1805; manner1 + -ism
Related formsman·ner·ist, nounman·ner·is·tic, adjectiveman·ner·is·ti·cal·ly, adverbnon·man·ner·is·tic, adjectivesem·i·man·ner·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mannerisms

Contemporary Examples of mannerisms

Historical Examples of mannerisms

  • Make a list of "mannerisms" you have observed, and suggest how they may be cured.

    The Mind and Its Education

    George Herbert Betts

  • They repeated his tones, his attitudes, his mannerisms, in their several ways.

    The Story of a Play

    W. D. Howells

  • They carefully studied the speech and the mannerisms and customs of the Satorians.

    Islands of Space

    John W Campbell

  • Tone and mannerisms were in perfect imitation of Mrs. Mosher.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • She discussed his books and his mannerisms, even the growth of his popularity.

    The Celebrity, Complete

    Winston Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for mannerisms


  1. a distinctive and individual gesture or trait; idiosyncrasy
  2. (often capital) a principally Italian movement in art and architecture between the High Renaissance and Baroque periods (1520–1600) that sought to represent an ideal of beauty rather than natural images of it, using characteristic distortion and exaggeration of human proportions, perspective, etc
  3. adherence to a distinctive or affected manner, esp in art or literature
Derived Formsmannerist, nounmanneristic or manneristical, adjectivemanneristically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for mannerisms



"excessive use of distinctive methods in art or literature," 1803, from manner + -ism. Meaning "an instance of mannerism, habitual peculiarity" is from 1819. Related: Mannerisms.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

mannerisms in Medicine


  1. A distinctive behavioral trait; an idiosyncrasy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.